Mummy I'm Bored!
Do the words 'Mummy I'm BORED' press your buttons?
Are you fed up with constantly feeling you have to entertain your child?
Hearing ‘I’m bored’ (usually said with a partularly whiny voice) gets every parent going.
Why can't she just leave me alone?
Then comes the guilt - Do I do enough?
Am I a good enough parent?
I was working with some clients this week and they had such a useful realisation. In fact they wrote to say
"Thank you so much for helping us to deal with our 3 year old’s mood swings, lack of focus and inability to play independently. It felt like everything we were doing was wrong. It was so helpful to get strategies to solve it. We can't believe how much happier and more creative he has been with his play since"
Want to know the secret?
Here’s how you can deal with the ‘I’m bored’ situation:
- Ask yourself – are my kids having too much screen time? We know that screens are a great babysitter. There are also lots of educational programmes and aps. Then there is a tipping point when the screen becomes addictive and the brain goes into that ‘zoned out’ state after which it is very difficult for them to access their creativity
- Here’s the important thing to know - boredom is a GOOD thing - especially when you restrict the chance of filling it with a screen.
- Have a routine for screens – set times when they go on and off and stick with it - it helps avoid the fights
- Less is more – regularly take toys away and keep them from sight – too many toys is confusing. You can then rotate them and bring back toys they haven’t seen for a while which become more interesting
- When a child is allowed to be bored they become more creative
- Don’t be tempted to feel like you instantly have to fill that void – just wait and watch
- Throw in a few suggestions and you could put out some random objects and wait. A pile of bricks, some old magazines, a game that hasn’t been used for a while
- Don’t interfere but do facilitate – they might need a blanket for a den, some scissors to cut up string, a pot to ‘cook’ with
- Avoid the temptation to prevent mess being made. Just get them to tidy up afterwards
- Give them the option of doing a chore when they say they are bored – emptying the bins, sweeping the floor, cleaning the bath. Easier for older children but younger ones can pair socks or put books back on the shelf
- Put aside your guilt – you can’t make your child’s life perfect and if they are whiny and moan at you for feeling bored, just know that they need to experience the rough with the smooth. It builds resilience and helps them be more appreciative when more fun things happen.